How Does Marijuana Affect Your Sex Life? | MedCard
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How Does Marijuana Affect Your Sex Life?

  • Marijuana has been used as an aphrodisiac for millennia. 
  • Some studies back up the claim that marijuana enhances sex and might help even men with erectile dysfunction.
  • However, other studies suggest that marijuana might have a negative impact on sexual desire or play a role in erectile dysfunction in some men.
  • Results are highly dependent on which marijuana strains and cannabis-infused products are being used and who is using them.

Let’s talk about sex. Can marijuana enhance your sex life? Can it increase your pleasure? What about ED? Can medical marijuana help treat erectile dysfunction? Or does marijuana cause ED or performance anxiety?

For ages, human beings have been using marijuana as an aphrodisiac, to spice up our sex lives, enhance libido, relieve sexual and performance anxiety, and even increase the intensity of orgasms.

Now researchers are trying to catch up and determine the safety and effectiveness of marijuana in enhancing our sex lives. So far research has been limited and the results have been mixed. This isn’t surprising considering the wide range of effects marijuana can have on the human body.

Compounds found in cannabis called cannabinoids seem to target a part of the human brain that’s involved in sexual arousal. A cannabinoid called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is especially prone to light up the erogenous zones of the brain. And another known as cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to reduce anxiety

Also, both THC and CBD seem to relieve pain and relax tight muscles in many users. Moreover, CBD has been shown to help tame the anxiety that sometimes comes with overindulgence in THC. 

In addition to activating libido, THC also stimulates processes in the brain involved in fear processing such as the amygdala and hypothalamus potentially causing paranoia and anxiety. Using a cannabis product with balanced levels of THC and CBD appears to be ideal for the purpose of enhancing sensual pleasure. More on that below.

Cannabinoids also act as vasodilators. They open blood vessels and increases blood flow. This increased flow in the smallest capillaries in your body has a direct effect on the senses, especially enhancing sensitivity. This effect might also help to reduce some causes of erectile dysfunction.

Along with the good, there may be some bad news — at least for some patients. For example, excessive use of marijuana has been shown in some studies to increase anxiety, worse erectile dysfunction, reduce sperm count, and potentially be involved in a condition called gynecomastia (male breast enlargement). But keep in mind that we still have no conclusive evidence of any of this. In fact, researchers often come to opposite conclusions. 

Let’s take a look at a few specific commonly asked questions related to marijuana and sex including its effects on libido, sexual anxiety, erectile dysfunction

Research on medical marijuana and sexual libido

Results of diverse studies on the use of marijuana to enhance libido are especially promising. Some researchers now suspect that marijuana’s ability to reduce stress and tension relieves some of the shyness and anxiety that can inhibit libido. 

In a recent report, investigators confirmed that in the four weeks prior to the survey, both men and women who used marijuana daily enjoyed sex about 20 percent more often than those who did not.

Another survey asked 373 participants about their cannabis use and sex. The 176 respondents that reported using cannabis regularly claimed they were more likely to have satisfying orgasms.

In a report titled, “The Relationship Between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women, conducted at Saint Louis University in Missouri,” researchers wrote about 133 sexually active adult women that had filled out a lengthy questionnaire regarding marijuana use before sex.

Thirty-eight women reported smoking marijuana prior to having sex. Two-thirds of them reported more pleasurable sex. However, 16 percent said it reduced their sexual pleasure. The team tried again with another group of 289 women. Again, about two-thirds claimed marijuana enhanced their sexual experience but only three percent said marijuana was a detriment to good sex.

Readers will find links to these and other studies on marijuana and sex at the end of the article.

Can marijuana cause or relieve erectile dysfunction?

Some studies suggest that marijuana can help men experiencing erectile dysfunction. Others, however, have suggested that marijuana might contribute to ED, premature ejaculation, and difficulty achieving orgasm. 

Evidence exists to suggest that excessive use of THC, in particular, can increase performance anxiety. The results of a 2011 literature review were published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The authors suggested that marijuana might actually increase the risk of ED in regular users. As mentioned above this might be solved with the use of a product with a balance of THC and CBD.

Another risk factor for ED is high cholesterol. A report published in Clinical and Developmental Immunology made the suggestion that marijuana might help reduce damage to tissues caused by high cholesterol thus increasing blood flow. 

Smoking tobacco also restricts blood flow and is associated with an increased risk of developing ED. It’s possible that smoking marijuana might pose a similar risk in some patients.

In related studies, researchers also found evidence that cannabis use can cause premature ejaculation or reduce sensitivity. Again, this may be due to differences in cannabis products and psychological factors.

The fact of the matter is that the outcome really depends on the patient’s physical makeup and the type of marijuana or cannabis-infused products being used. 

Complicating matters further, cannabis products come in a wide variety of strains and formulas with varying levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other active ingredients. While one product might greatly enhance one’s sex life, a different product with a different formula could do more harm than good.

It’s safe to assume, however, that taking excessively high doses of THC is more likely to cause problems in the bedroom rather than fix them. Alternatively, microdosing — using less than 5 milligrams before sex — may be very helpful for some patients.

Does marijuana reduce sperm count?

Can marijuana decrease sperm count? Evidence has been reported that suggests that frequent cannabis use can reduce sperm count. 

The results of a study published in 2015 in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggested that marijuana can reduce sperm count. Researchers examined semen quality in 1,200 Danish men between the ages of 18 and 28. According to the report, 45 percent of the participants reported using cannabis within the past 90 days. Those who used cannabis more than once a week showed a 28 percent reduction in sperm concentration and a 29 percent lower sperm count.

However, another very different study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that semen samples of 662 men provided between 2000 and 2017 showed a higher sperm count in those who had used marijuana. However, the study did not differentiate between frequent marijuana users and occasional users. 

Once again, the jury is still out on whether marijuana can cause a reduction in sperm count.

How to use marijuana to enhance libido

The most important thing to remember when considering marijuana use or consultation of cannabinoid-infused products is that the effects of those products can vary greatly from person to person depending on the strains being used and the levels of various cannabinoids and terpenes. 

For example, some marijuana strains or products might cause drowsiness in some users leading to a decreased desire for sex. Also, excessive dosages of THC can cause anxiety leading to nervousness. 

When smoking, vaping, or dabbing marijuana or cannabis concentrates users should consider a strain that offers a balance of THC and CBD. Those who have little experience with marijuana use should start with very small amounts to avoid overconsumption of THC and an unpleasant experience that sometimes comes with it. 

Unlike smoking and vaping which offer an instant onset of effects, edibles take time to produce effects. Edibles should be consumed at least a half-hour before sex on an empty stomach or an hour when taken with a meal. Be extra cautious to not overdo it. Anyone who is new to edibles should start with small doses. Oils, tinctures, capsules, and other delivery methods are also available and have similar effects to edibles

Most experienced cannabis users have a preference in which product they prefer. Those who are not experienced may need to experiment with a few options to find the one that works best for them.

Cannabinoid-infused massage oils and lubricants are also available. There is speculation that a topical lubricant infused with THC can enhance sensation and arousal, while CBD can help to relax tightness and ease painful intercourse.

Products containing THC must be purchased at your nearby marijuana dispensary and many states require customers to have a medical marijuana card

However, products containing CBD derived from hemp are available to all. Anyone can buy CBD online without a medical marijuana card

Conclusion on marijuana and sex

Although clinical research is minimal and not yet conclusive, many marijuana users claim that cannabis can enhance sexual desire and satisfaction. Negative side effects such as erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety have been reported but are often due to overconsumption of THC. The effects are highly dependent on the user’s physical condition and the product being used. Finally, there is no solid evidence that all marijuana use can reduce sperm count.

Sources and additional reading

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